Beth Rose is the mother of five children. And she hints there may be more to come. This begs the question: How does she have time for a photography business, where she is busy “making memories into heirlooms,” as her tagline aptly describes?
Her husband’s nickname for Beth Rose, “Hummingbird,” may be the answer; she rarely sits still. This quality no doubt helps her during family portrait sessions, ensuring that she’s always on the lookout for authentic moments of joy that reflect each individual family. As Frame Destination’s resident art ambassador, I was mesmerized by the way Beth Rose captures normal, run-of-the-mill activities — like a mother and father lounging in bed with their newborn, or kids on a backyard swing set.
A point of pride for Beth Rose is her hands-on approach to the entire process: shooting, editing, and printing on archival paper in her Nashville home. All except the framing, for which she relies on Frame Destination. “Because making my own frames is one of the few things that I am not able to do myself,” Beth Rose explains, “I appreciate having access to frames that I can so easily and accurately customize to my vision for my work.” We are glad to do our part, Beth Rose.
See More of Beth Rose’s Work
From family portraits to her daisy series, Beth Rose’s website is a great place to appreciate her work. Dive into her Instagram for recent photos, gallery news, and some humorous Mimosa Monday video posts. Scroll down to my Q&A below and discover the worst advice Beth Rose ever got, what (or whom) she finds indispensable, and her take on the unconventional (and controversial) father-son portrait showcased above.
Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Beth Rose Goin …
1. What is your background; how did you get started?
In high school I was the entire photography club. I went from there to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The darkroom became my refuge; I spent many hours there to avoid going home. I spent some time after that following adventure races in Canada and then moved to Nashville, got married, and started having babies! Then I switched to digital for practical reasons and in the last few years, as the kids have all needed me a little less, I've gotten into printing my own images at home.
2. How important is it for a photographer to "connect" with their subject?
There is an inherent truth in photography, or an assumed truth, at least. If it's in a photograph, it must have really happened. Other art mediums can create, whereas photography has to capture. A connection is imperative if the subject is going to be known in the image. It's never just about the artist, because the subject is physically present, not merely implied or represented. A lot of my work is with families. It's very important to me that I document them as they are. I don't have a formula that I use, or a “style" — instead I get to know them so that the images reflect who they are. This man happens to be a very good friend of mine, so I know him well. Several people told me that they didn't like the image, and one person asked, “But why is he choking the baby?" They can't see past what they expect in a father and baby portrait. My friend is not what you expect. Fathers are often so timid and clumsy with their first child. Not my friend. He is so sure of who he is in everything that he does. Even as a brand-new father, he doesn't wonder, or doubt, or hesitate. And as he holds his son so confidently, that sweet baby looks so brave, so ready — because he knows that his father holds him and his father is strong. If I took the same photograph of any other father and child, it wouldn't carry the weight this one does, and it wouldn't be “true.”
3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice you’ve received within your career?
It's easier for me to talk about the worst advice and how I became an artist when I let go of it. In art college my skill was often praised, but the art itself was not. I was told that it was not deep enough, simply because it was not dark enough. They had it so backwards. I was in an abusive relationship and I was in a very dark place. When I dug deep and went beyond what I was living in that moment — I found joy. And that is what I expressed in my images.
4. In what ways does your work reflect your personality?
I have five children (so far). I love nothing more than the everyday joy that comes with children. Everything is new and amazing to them. I live that way, too, as much as a I can. I love the little things. When I am not photographing people, I am photographing little joyful things. Even in some of the images I have of flowers in their last days, I see joy in that death. Not happiness — death hurts — but joy in the completion and fullness.
5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?
I shoot anyways. I shoot something that I don't think I can nail. I try something new. I find someone or something to document, because even if I have nothing to say, maybe they do.
6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)
My husband. I don't think I knew how to believe in myself before he showed me.
7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?
I have a daisy series that has over 100 daisies in it. It is an extension of something that I've thought about for years after the result of a project I did in college surprised me. It was images of women where I had stripped their faces down to just the basic features expecting to prove that "deep down we are all really the same." Pfft. I was wrong. I discovered that even at our most basic we are all individuals. Each of us is uniquely handcrafted and original down to the last detail. So if something so simple and so well known as a daisy can have so many surprises form one to the next, how much more so each of us.
8. What "fad" gadget do you most regret purchasing?
I wish that I could still shoot film. I don't regret going digital; it's practical. But I wish that I didn't have to. Other than that, I think a monopod. It really holds nothing still.
All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.
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Last Updated May 1, 2021